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Credit: Lucy Hewett

A Week of Dinners from Grandbaby Cakes’ Jocelyn Delk Adams

published Mar 9, 2020
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Jocelyn Delk Adams, the popular blogger and cookbook author behind Grandbaby Cakes, may be known for her family-style Southern desserts, but she’s gotta eat dinner too. When she’s not making honeybun cakes and banana bread, she’s cooking up something savory for her newly-vegan husband and two-year-old daughter Harmony.

We caught up with Jocelyn to talk about her five go-to weeknight dinner recipes, the freezer find that saves the day when her daughter refuses to eat, and her philosophy on dessert after dinner.

A Week of Dinners from Jocelyn Delk Adams

Credit: Grandbaby Cakes

Maple Glazed Salmon

I grew up eating my mama’s salmon croquettes with biscuits, grits, and maple syrup at least once a week. They convinced me that maple syrup and salmon were the best combo ever! Because of those croquettes, I started baking my salmon fillets with a wonderfully-sweet garlicky maple glaze that takes mere minutes to make and serve. It reminds me of home each and every time I make it.

Credit: Grandbaby Cakes

Smothered Pork Chops

Growing up, my mother smothered everything from chicken to pork chops to steak. There is seriously nothing more comforting or Southern than something smothered. These smothered pork chops are a mainstay for me during the week. The flavor is out of this world and once you make it, you have to make it again and again. The gravy is rich and thick, and the pork chops are incredibly tender and melt in your mouth. You can serve it over mashed potatoes, grits, or rice (or cauliflower rice) so it adds a nice change of pace if you make it a ton.

Credit: Grandbaby Cakes

Shrimp Scampi and Grits

I love grits. I can eat them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They are even better when served with shrimp. I make this recipe sometimes twice a week for two reasons: My husband absolutely adores it and it takes mere minutes to make. The flavors come together so perfectly with hints of citrus and wine, which always compliment shrimp so well. And when I serve them on a bed of creamy grits, this recipe becomes the gold standard.

Credit: Grandbaby Cakes

Lemon Pepper Wings

Fried, baked or grilled, these wings are insanely versatile and can be made any way. The flavor secret is really in the homemade lemon-pepper seasoning and lemony honey glaze. I serve them fried for game days, bake them up for a quick weeknight dinner, and grill them in the summer.

Credit: Grandbaby Cakes

Oven Fried Catfish

My roots are truly Southern, and that means catfish is a staple. We eat it mostly fried but sometimes you just want to save on the calories and avoid standing over the stove waiting for perfectly golden fried fish. When you’re really in a rush for supper, this recipe is in the oven after a 15 minute prep. The very best part is the taste! I swear this recipe tastes fried.

Credit: Lucy Hewett

Weeknight Cooking Questions for Jocelyn

We know you’re famous for your exquisite baking projects, but we wanted to show off your savory side too. How would you describe your cooking style?
It’s a mix. A lot of my cooking has Southern roots — it’s what I grew up with and it penetrates everything I create in the kitchen. But I also like to make traditional things with a modern twist. The way I live my life now, with my own business, and my daughter, and the travel/craziness of my schedule, I’m more aware of dinners that remind me of my roots, but can be made quickly and conveniently and in a style that’s more approachable.

You’ve talked a lot about your grandma, “Big Mama,” and how she influenced your baking. What was the biggest lesson she taught you about cooking in general?
I think it has a lot to do with her work ethic. Cooking wasn’t a career for her — it was a pure love of just doing it and being in the kitchen and not stopping until she got it right. She would bake, and bake, and bake, and bake these cakes for so many people in the neighborhood that there would be cakes lined up all around the house from the kitchen to the dining room. This was after working a full shift in the hospital and taking care of her five kids. She would make this time for people because she truly loved doing it. It’s a reminder of how much passion can be a driver for me.

Credit: Lucy Hewett

When you started the blog, you were the grandbaby. And now you have a baby of your own, Harmony. How has your cooking changed since you’ve become a mom?
She just turned two and she’s entering this picky phase. Before, she would eat this wealth of things that I would expose to her. She adored guacamole. Couldn’t get enough. And now she wants chicken nuggets. Fries. Spaghetti. It doesn’t matter what I cook, she only wants one thing. My mom or I will make a huge batch of spaghetti and freeze little bags for her — we don’t care, we just want her to eat.

What about your husband?
Since the beginning of the year, my husband has been going through the process of becoming vegan. That’s changed everything up. I’ve personally been going through a pescatarian phase. Sometimes we have like three different things going on. I will throw a piece of salmon in the oven for me, we’ll have a salad, lentil meatballs something we can all eat. Sometimes dinner is as simple as making our own pizzas with the same dough.

Where do you get all the groceries you need for recipe testing / day to day cooking?
I’m a big Instacart person. I use it for pretty much 95 percent of my grocery load. In the span of one week, I will have 2-3 Instacart orders going out to 2-3 different grocery stores. I usually plan what recipes I’m going to be making for dinner during the week, and I also have a really clear, Type A plan of what I’m going to be testing and working on for my website. I’m pretty organized. I have a comprehensive Google Sheet that has all my recipe ideas for an entire year.

Sometimes whatever I’m testing will be dinner — but if I’m testing a baked good or something my almost-two-year-old will not eat, then I have to go back to the drawing board.

Credit: Lucy Hewett

2-3 Instacart orders a week!?
I have my Whole Foods, Marianos, Kroeger, Target, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s. (I’ve been cooking in so many different kitchens since we decided to move to Dallas from our home in Chicago.) I write out grocery lists over the weekend, pop them in my Instacart and schedule them out. It’s so much more convenient than going to each store.

What do you always, always, always have on your list?
Butter! I go through so much butter, which doesn’t help my husband right now, but I get him Earth Balance. There’s never a week where that’s not on my list. A lot of eggs. A lot of seafood. For my husband, there’s always produce. And our daughter, Harmony, loves apples, oranges, and bananas. We are big green smoothie people, so lots of fruits and vegetables like spinach and kale. Sometimes Harmony has two smoothies a day, she will literally hand me her cup and say “smoothie, smoothie!” That’s something we all love.

Credit: Lucy Hewett

What’s something you can whip up out of nowhere?
Catfish for sure. I make mine oven-fried but it completely tastes fried. I can whip that up in two seconds and not even think about it. I have filets in the freezer always.

I read that you…hate condiments. Say it isn’t so!
It’s weird and true! When I was younger, people were like, she’s going to outgrow that, but I never did. The smell of ketchup or mustard makes me completely disgusted. If we go out to dinner and there’s ketchup on the table, OMG, I will not sit down. My husband will take the menu and create a little tent around it… I can’t get over it.

Credit: Lucy Hewett

Do you feel this way about all sauces?
If I make a sauce over the stove or something, that’s different. For me, though, there are so many dishes that are complete on their own and when someone adds a sauce, I don’t like that. Like, why doesn’t this taste good alone? But if it’s something where the sauce is an actual part of the dish and is well incorporated, that’s different.

Fair enough. As the creator of Grandbaby “Cakes” do you always finish dinner with dessert?
I bake so much that I literally give that stuff away all the time. I have had moments where I bake a cake and my husband and I will eat a slice each until it’s gone. And other times I have one bite to make sure it’s good and then it’s gone. At this point, I’ve been around dessert so much that it doesn’t tempt me… I’m not like, “I gotta have this.”

Thanks so much for sharing, Jocelyn! Follow Jocelyn on Instagram and check out her blog, Grandbaby Cakes, here.